Curbly Original
Make This! Big Impact Geometric Mirror DIY

by Faith Provencher
Make This! DIY Vanity Mirror Frame
Photo: Faith Towers Provencher

Have you ever tried to shop for a decorative bathroom mirror? The process can be frustrating... it's tough to find something that works well with your decor, while also staying within your budget. That was my experience when I tried to find the perfect bathroom mirror. So, of course, I made one! Keep reading to find out how to make this DIY vanity mirror using wooden dowel rods.       

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Paint Stripping Head-to-Head: Which is the Best Finish Remover?

by Amber Dickson
Deck stripper head to head: Which product removes finish better?
Photo: Amber Dickson

 My family moved into our current home last year and knew that come summer, the deck would need some attention. The whole surface was in rough shape.  The latex deck coating had flaked off in large areas and in the places where the finish was still present, it was not well-adhered to the surface. This project was going to require more than a quick clean and re-coat, so I decided to find out which deck stripper would do the best job.

After surviving my first New England winter, I really did not want to spend the entire New England summer sanding down the deck.  Summer in New Hampshire lasts for approximately one week and I was ready to hit the beach.  An internet search revealed several deck stain and finish removers available to non-professionals.  Perhaps this would be the key to an easy deck re-finish.             

 

Paint in need of refinishing
Here's where I started - yikes!

 The removers fall into two different categories depending upon the mechanism by which they work.  One category is caustic deck strippers.  These contain corrosive chemicals that break down the finish such as sodium hydroxide, (the chemical name of lye) or sodium chloride.

The second category is solvent deck strippers.  A solvent deck stripper dissolves the bond between the wood and the finish.  They contain solvents such as 1, 3 dioxolane.

weathered deck - before deck stripper
Photo: Amber Dickson

If you are researching a product and want to know more about the chemicals it contains, this website is helpful.  Or, another option is to do what I did and call Mom.  Fair warning, this will probably only work if your mother is a chemist. Luckily mine is.  

After looking up the product’s SDS (Safety Data Sheet), I chose two strippers, one from each category, and put them to the test.

deck stripper in progress - removing paint from wood
Photo: Amber Dickson

I used Behr Premium Wood Stain and Finish Stripper, a caustic stripper, on half of the deck.  The instructions call for application with a synthetic roller.  The stripper was cloudy and had the consistency of jello that was only half-way set.  The label is quite clear about using safety glasses, gloves, and other precautions against direct contact.  If reading the warnings does not convince you of its potency, the smell will.  One whiff is all it takes to realize how strong this stuff is. 

deck finish remover in progress
Photo: Amber Dickson

I applied the stripper and kept close watch for the next 45 minutes.  When areas would start to dry, per the directions, I applied a light misting of water.   I let the stripper sit for the maximum amount of time suggested then scrubbed with a stiff brush and used a garden sprayer to rinse.  Behr does not recommend using a power washer.  Much of the finish lifted.  Much did not.  I then applied the recommended Behr All-in-One Wood Cleaner to neutralize the chemical reaction and brighten the wood.

deck with finish mostly removed
Photo: Amber Dickson

Next, I used JoMax Stain and Finish Deck Stripper, a solvent stripper, on the remaining portion of the deck.  This product was clear and thinner.  It also has a strong odor and plenty of warnings about taking precautions for safety.   I followed the suggested timetables and reapplied the stripper to areas that started to dry.  Per the directions, I used the stiff brush on the surface before rinsing.  The label says that either a garden hose or a pressure washer on a low setting can be used.

This product showed much less efficacy.  As I was rinsing with the power washer, I could tell that some of the finish had dissolved but there was no noticeable change.  It was thinner in areas but still very much present.

damaged deck boards
Photo: Amber Dickson

Which Deck Stripper Was Best?

As it turns out, neither stripper proved to be a magical solution and there was a fair amount of sanding needed after all.  After sanding, I applied Ben Moore's Arborcoat semi-solid stain in a custom color to match the house. 

refinished deck
Photo: Amber Dickson

This was not an easy test case.  I certainly challenged the chemical strippers as the existing latex deck finish was heavy-duty and very thick.  It seems that a thinner finish would lift more fully.  Of the two, the Behr product worked much better though it did not provide overwhelming results and took a fair amount of elbow-grease in both the application process and the physical removal by scrubbing.  Also, it required an additional neutralizing step. 

In the end, the deck is now protected for another year.  It was in rough shape to start with so no one is going to think it's brand new - but it has served us well this summer and will live to fight another day come winter. 

snacks on the finishe deck
Photo: Amber Dickson

 

Interested in another way to spiff up your deck? Check out this post

before and after deck photo

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How to: Easy Ideas To Turn Your Bathroom Into A Spa-Like Retreat

by Faith Provencher

Spa bathroom ideas

A trip to the spa is the ultimate way to de-stress, but we don't all have the time or money to head to the spa every month. So why not create your own calming sanctuary right at home that you can enjoy every single day? Here are a few simple tips for creating a spa bathroom retreat.     

 

Tips for Creating a Spa Bathroom on a Budget 

Neutral tones for a spa bathroom

1. Stick with neutral, earthy tones

Spas tend to use light colors for a calming effect, giving the space an organic feel. My Design Chic shows us that pale blue lends a soothing sense; head here for more pale blue inspiration. As shown in the second photo above, white is a great base color; then add accents of pale blue, beige and brown to keep the space from feeling too sterile. Check out Apartment Therapy for more tips on creating spa-like elegant bathroom decor. 

 

Greenery in the bathroom

2. Greenery adds life to the room

A cluster of houseplants give this room an inviting feel, while Martha Stewart's crabapple blossoms lend a romantic vibe. Place an orchid on your vanity for more of a zen look, as they've done over at Decor Pad.

 

Aromatherapy in the restroom

3. Aromatherapy is an important consideration 

Scent plays a large role in mood, so don't forget to add relaxing aromas to your space. Hang eucalyptus over your shower head for a refreshing scent as recommended by Uphaa, or place reed diffusers on your countertop. Head over to Elizabeth Danon Interiors for more tips on adding organic scents to your home. Complete your candlelit bath with rose petals for a warm, romantic break.   

 

Candles and champagne

4. Encourage prolonged relaxation

Check out the full DIY tutorial for this handy wooden bathtub tray over at Snippets of Design. It's the little things in life! And don't forget to add a glass of champagne as The Online Stylist has done. 

 

Details to create a spa-like bathroom

5. It's all in the details 

Eliminating labels will reduce visual clutter in the room... try transferring cotton balls and q-tips to apothecary jars as they've done over at Design Indulgences. A curved shower curtain will add space to your shower area for a more luxurious experience. Check out this and other easy spa bathroom refreshers over at Modern Furniture Design. Last, an easy way to make your bathroom feel spa-like is to roll up your towels as Timothy Whealon has done. 

 

Upgraded showerhead
Photo: Ben Finch

6. Upgrade your shower head

Sure, your basic shower head from the 90's probably still functions just fine. But wouldn't a rain system be so much more luxurious? And a handheld attachment would be oh-so-handy when you come home from the park all muddy. They don't necessarily cost an arm and a leg either... Amazon has a wide range of options. Be sure to pick something that will fit with your existing plumbing and finishes.

 

Upgraded towels
Photo: Kate Lester

7. Splurge on towels

There's nothing more luxurious than a thick, soft towel to wrap up in after a long bath. Indulge in a set of high quality towels for those days when you're looking for that spa bathroom feel. Go for oversized, soft and absorbent... and be sure to look at the reviews online if you can't check them out in person. Don't forget to choose a set of stylish hand towels too - it's a decorative touch that will make your space feel like a relaxing personal bathroom retreat. Check out some of our favorite towels below.

 

Spa like bathrooms on a budget
Photo: Nechstar

8. Add your own soundtrack 

We listen to music in the office, in the car and elsewhere, so why not get some tunes going to help us relax in the shower as well? Music can have a wonderful mood-altering effect, so it's a must for getting ready in the morning. Here are the best waterproof bluetooth speakers according to Neckstar. Quite a few ring in at under $50, believe it or not!

 


Shop Our Favorite Spa Bathroom Products & Accessories

Bath tray caddy
Urban Outfitters

Give yourself the perfect unwind time setup with a bath caddy. We love this one because of its versatility and handy wine glass holder! Me Time Bamboo Bath Tray Caddy from Urban Outfitters, $49 

 

Turkish towels
Amazon

These large, plush towels from Amazon have a lovely spa-like color and they get good reviews too. Oversized Turkish Bathroom Towels 3 Piece Set from Amazon, $60

 

Wood bath mat
Urban Outfitters

There's something about bamboo that just feels spa-like, isn't there? Bamboo Bath Mat from Urban Outfitters, $35

 

Rainfall shower head
Amazon

Upgrade your shower with this combination rainfall and handheld head. AquaDance 3 Way Rainfall Shower Head from Amazon, $35

 

Plush towels
Cost Plus World Market

Add one of these unique hand towels to your spa bathroom: Black and Ivory Sculpted Bath Towel from Cost Plus World Market, $16

 

Waterproof speaker
Amazon

Get some tunes in your spa bathroom! iFox Bluetooth Shower Speaker from Amazon, $30

 

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20 Beginner Woodworking Projects Using Basic Skills and Tools

by Jennifer Farley

10 Beginner Woodworking Projects | No advanced skills or tools required

DIY woodworking projects can make your home decor unique on a budget. The problem for most beginner DIYers is they don't have the tools to make them happen. Here are 10 beginner woodworking projects that require using basic skills, and basic tools that most people have or can borrow.    

Let's start with 10 Beginner Woodworking Projects for the Crafty DIYers Out There 

simple beginner woodworking project: side table
Passion Shake

1. Wooden Magazine Holder

This DIY magazine holder only requires a jigsaw, an angle ruler, and some wood glue. Check out the tutorial on Homedit.

2. Dowel Rod Coat Rack

This simple coat rack project, made by Emily Henderson for Red Book Magazine, doesn't even require any tools.

3. DIY Hanging Table

This hanging table is made from a natural wood slab. If you don't have to cut the wood slab you simply need a drill.  Check out the tutorial over on The Merry Thought.

 

4. DIY Spice Rack

This minimal spice rack from Curbly is an easy way to get organized. All you need for this project is a hand saw and some wood glue.

 

DIY ladder shelves - a simple beginner woodworking project
A Pair and A Spare

5.  DIY Ladder Shelves

All this project requires is an old ladder, a drill, and some L-Brackets. Check out the tutorial here.

6. DIY Wooden Crayon Holder

This project is easy with a little stroke of genius. This is on my "to make" list. You can have the wood cut at your local store but you will need a hole saw drill bit and your drill.

7. Wooden Sofa Sleeve Cup Holder

Elsie and Emma have this tutorial over on A Beautiful Mess. The only tools you need are a chop saw, clamps, hole saw drill bit, and woodglue. If you don't have a chop saw get your wood cut at your home improvement store.

Wood block Edison bulb lamp
Curbly

8. Wood Block Edison Bulb Lamp

For this project all you need is a miter saw, a drill, and a spade bit.You can find this tutorial here on Curbly.

9. Rustic Wood Phone Charger

The only tool used to make this phone charger was a drill and a Dremel. Check out the tutorial here.

 

10. DIY Wooden Swing

This DIY wooden swing from Momtasic is simple and a fun addition to your outdoor or indoor space. Check out the tutorial here. If your wood is already cut (at your local store or friendly neighbor) all you need is a drill.

Roundup DIY Beginner Woodworking Projects you can attempt right away. No special tools or skills required
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If you are wanting to start your woodworking skills maybe try these projects and borrow or rent the tools needed. If you love it, then slowly start filling your own tool shed one project at a time.

10 MORE Home Beginner Woodworking Projects You Can Try Right Now

By Lexy Ward

Beginner DIY Wood Projects
Photo: PROPER

We are big fans of woodworking in our home. If we want a new piece of furniture, you bet we try to make it ourselves! We've built faux fireplaces, daybeds, storage bins, tables, and more! But we had to start somewhere. We all do. If you're new to woodworking, give one of these easy beginner woodworking projects a try! You're sure to be addicted to the craft! 

 

 

home wood working projects for the beginner
Photo: Brit & Co

1. This Anthropologie-inspired organizing piece cost $50 instead of the $330 in store! See how over on Brit & Co.!

 

2. This stackable makeup organizer just needs some paint, wood glue, clamps and a drill bit! See it on Paper & Stitch!

 

Beginner DIY Wood Projects
Photo:  A Beautiful Mess

3. You can make this modern wardrobe in an afternoon! And if you don't have a saw at home, have the pieces pre-cut at the hardware store! See how on A Beautiful Mess!

 

Beginner Wood DIY projects
Photo: PROPER

4. Create a rolling storage bin for blankets, pillows, and odds and ends around the house! See how on PROPER!

Beginner wood DIY projects
Photo: DIY in PDX

5. If you can use a jigsaw and a drill, this stud earring rack will be a breeze. See it on DIY in PDX!

Beginner wood DIY projects
Photo: A Bubbly Life

6. The simplest headboard one can make! See it on A Bubbly Life!

Beginner wood DIY projects
Photo: Kristi Murphy

7. I'm really digging this marble & wood tray hack and it's easy to make your own! See it on Kristi Murphy!

8. This picture ledge is the perfect intro to woodworking tools! You'll need a miter box, table saw, drill, and an orbital sander! Perfect for dipping your toes! See it on The Merrythought!

Beginner DIY wood projects
Photo: PROPER

9. This DIY daybed is easier than it looks! You just need a table saw, drill, hammer, and an orbital sander! See it on PROPER!

10. Say it with me, "MDF is my best friend". Wood MDF is one of the easiest mediums to work with as you don't have to worry about warped or split boards. This midcentury mod coffee table is made from MDF and is super easy to recreate at home! See it on The Wonder Forest!

10 Easy Woodworking Projects For Beginners

Share this roundup on Pinterest! 

 

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20 Beginner Woodworking Projects Using Basic Skills and Tools

by Jennifer Farley

10 Beginner Woodworking Projects | No advanced skills or tools required

DIY woodworking projects can make your home decor unique on a budget. The problem for most beginner DIYers is they don't have the tools to make them happen. Here are 10 beginner woodworking projects that require using basic skills, and basic tools that most people have or can borrow.    

Let's start with 10 Beginner Woodworking Projects for the Crafty DIYers Out There 

simple beginner woodworking project: side table
Passion Shake

1. Wooden Magazine Holder

This DIY magazine holder only requires a jigsaw, an angle ruler, and some wood glue. Check out the tutorial on Homedit.

2. Dowel Rod Coat Rack

This simple coat rack project, made by Emily Henderson for Red Book Magazine, doesn't even require any tools.

3. DIY Hanging Table

This hanging table is made from a natural wood slab. If you don't have to cut the wood slab you simply need a drill.  Check out the tutorial over on The Merry Thought.

 

4. DIY Spice Rack

This minimal spice rack from Curbly is an easy way to get organized. All you need for this project is a hand saw and some wood glue.

 

DIY ladder shelves - a simple beginner woodworking project
A Pair and A Spare

5.  DIY Ladder Shelves

All this project requires is an old ladder, a drill, and some L-Brackets. Check out the tutorial here.

6. DIY Wooden Crayon Holder

This project is easy with a little stroke of genius. This is on my "to make" list. You can have the wood cut at your local store but you will need a hole saw drill bit and your drill.

7. Wooden Sofa Sleeve Cup Holder

Elsie and Emma have this tutorial over on A Beautiful Mess. The only tools you need are a chop saw, clamps, hole saw drill bit, and woodglue. If you don't have a chop saw get your wood cut at your home improvement store.

Wood block Edison bulb lamp
Curbly

8. Wood Block Edison Bulb Lamp

For this project all you need is a miter saw, a drill, and a spade bit.You can find this tutorial here on Curbly.

9. Rustic Wood Phone Charger

The only tool used to make this phone charger was a drill and a Dremel. Check out the tutorial here.

 

10. DIY Wooden Swing

This DIY wooden swing from Momtasic is simple and a fun addition to your outdoor or indoor space. Check out the tutorial here. If your wood is already cut (at your local store or friendly neighbor) all you need is a drill.

Roundup DIY Beginner Woodworking Projects you can attempt right away. No special tools or skills required
Pin It and Share It

 

If you are wanting to start your woodworking skills maybe try these projects and borrow or rent the tools needed. If you love it, then slowly start filling your own tool shed one project at a time.

10 MORE Home Beginner Woodworking Projects You Can Try Right Now

By Lexy Ward

Beginner DIY Wood Projects
Photo: PROPER

We are big fans of woodworking in our home. If we want a new piece of furniture, you bet we try to make it ourselves! We've built faux fireplaces, daybeds, storage bins, tables, and more! But we had to start somewhere. We all do. If you're new to woodworking, give one of these easy beginner woodworking projects a try! You're sure to be addicted to the craft! 

 

 

home wood working projects for the beginner
Photo: Brit & Co

1. This Anthropologie-inspired organizing piece cost $50 instead of the $330 in store! See how over on Brit & Co.!

 

2. This stackable makeup organizer just needs some paint, wood glue, clamps and a drill bit! See it on Paper & Stitch!

 

Beginner DIY Wood Projects
Photo:  A Beautiful Mess

3. You can make this modern wardrobe in an afternoon! And if you don't have a saw at home, have the pieces pre-cut at the hardware store! See how on A Beautiful Mess!

 

Beginner Wood DIY projects
Photo: PROPER

4. Create a rolling storage bin for blankets, pillows, and odds and ends around the house! See how on PROPER!

Beginner wood DIY projects
Photo: DIY in PDX

5. If you can use a jigsaw and a drill, this stud earring rack will be a breeze. See it on DIY in PDX!

Beginner wood DIY projects
Photo: A Bubbly Life

6. The simplest headboard one can make! See it on A Bubbly Life!

Beginner wood DIY projects
Photo: Kristi Murphy

7. I'm really digging this marble & wood tray hack and it's easy to make your own! See it on Kristi Murphy!

8. This picture ledge is the perfect intro to woodworking tools! You'll need a miter box, table saw, drill, and an orbital sander! Perfect for dipping your toes! See it on The Merrythought!

Beginner DIY wood projects
Photo: PROPER

9. This DIY daybed is easier than it looks! You just need a table saw, drill, hammer, and an orbital sander! See it on PROPER!

10. Say it with me, "MDF is my best friend". Wood MDF is one of the easiest mediums to work with as you don't have to worry about warped or split boards. This midcentury mod coffee table is made from MDF and is super easy to recreate at home! See it on The Wonder Forest!

10 Easy Woodworking Projects For Beginners

Share this roundup on Pinterest! 

 

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Curbly Original
DIY Wooden Starburst Mirror

by Faith Provencher
DIY Wooden Starburst Mirror
Photo: Faith Towers Provencher

After getting married last summer, I had all kinds of leftover materials... one of which being these wooden fan waves that looked like wavy tongue depressors. I knew there must be something fun I could make with them, but I couldn't figure out what. And then it hit me - a retro style starburst mirror! And the rest is history. Keep reading to check out the full tutorial.   

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IKEA Hack: Transform a Basic Cabinet into a Gorgeous Nightstand with a Geometric Design

Norse Interiors
Norse Interiors IKEA custom fittings
This post was contributed by Norse Interiors

Everybody loves IKEA, right? The simplicity of the designs, plus the sense of accomplishment from putting furniture together yourself... this combo makes IKEA a standard go-to when shopping for the home. There are lots of ways to hack IKEA furniture - however, would you like to customize these basic designs to set you apart from the thousands of other people that have the same piece? Turns out, it's a pretty easy transformation to make. Today we're taking a look at how easy it is to upgrade your IKEA furniture, thanks to Norse Interiors' system. You can style up a wide variety of IKEA furniture using prefab cabinet designs and knobs. Everybody will be asking, “Where did you get that?"            

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Curbly Original
Taco Tuesday: Easy DIY Wooden Taco Holder

by Faith Provencher
Taco Tuesday: Easy DIY Wooden Taco Holder
Photo: Faith Towers Provencher

I don't know about you, but once summer hits I'm constantly craving tacos. Taco Tuesday, sure... but also taco Wednesday, taco Thursday and taco every-day-of-the-week.  The only thing that bugs me is how difficult it is to handle them. How can you serve them without them flopping all over the place? So I decided to craft a simple taco holder out of wood to solve the problem. Keep reading to check out my full photo tutorial!    

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Curbly Original
Crazy Easy DIY Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack

by Faith Provencher
Crazy Easy DIY Roll-Up Dish Drying Rack
Photo: Faith Towers Provencher

Dish drying racks that sit on your counter can be bulky and unattractive and if you have a dishwasher, you probably don't use it on a daily basis. So I got to thinking... why not create something that can be pulled out of the cabinet when you need it, but rolled up and stashed away when you don't? Enter the over-the-sink dish draining rack.   

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How to Build a Cozy Radiator Cat Bed

by M.E. Gray

From the new book, "DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs." A tutorial on how to make a radiator cat bed.

If you're a cat owner, you know two things about kitties: #1, They like heights, and #2, they like warmth. I can always count on finding my own cat in a handful of different places around my apartment, including either right up against the radiator, or high up on my bedroom dresser. If your feline is anything like mine, she'd flip over a DIY radiator cat bed like this one.       

This project comes straight from the soon-to-be-published book DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs. The book was created for those who love good design, and value the DIY over an expensive buy. DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs offers 20 easy-to-build projects, from a dog-friendly bike basket, to a fancy rolling litter box cabinet. All the projects are cheap, and all are easy to make. The book publishes on May 8th, but in the meantime, you can pre-order it from Amazon.

For a sneak peek into the kinds of stylish creations you can make from this book, here's a look at my favorite project from the collection: the DIY radiator cat bed. 

 

WARNING: This project is designed for hot-water radiators in homes heated by gas or oil (usually older houses and apartment buildings). Electric radiators can overheat and cause a fire if they come in contact with a combustible object.

MATERIALS

  • 1 sheet OSB (oriented strand board)

  • 2 furring strips, about 2 feet (60 cm) each

  • 2 shelf brackets, minimum about 8 inches (20 cm) on shortest arm

  • 4 corner braces, about 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm)

  • 2 nuts and bolts to fit the corner braces

  • About 12 screws

  • Fabric, foam, and a staple gun

  • Glue

Step

Step 1 | How to Make a Radiator Cat Bed

Cut the furring strips to the desired length, referring to the photo of the finished project - you determine the distance between the top of the radiator and the bed.

To prevent the wood from splitting when using screws, it's important to drill pilot holes first—don't just drill the screws straight into the wood.

Step

At the top of each furring strip, screw on a corner brace.

Step

Step 3 | How to Make a Radiator Cat Bed

At the bottom of each furring strip, on the side opposite the one with the corner brace, screw on a shelf bracket.

Choose your corner braces carefully—their shape will determine the success of your project. Use metal corner braces, which will hold up better under pressure, heat, and repeated use.

Step

Step 4 | How to Make a Radiator Cat Bed

At the top of each furring strip, use a nut and bolt to attach a second corner brace to the first corner brace to form a U-shape; this is what will fit over the radiator.

Step

Step 5 | How to Make a DIY Radiator Cat Bed

Screw the board to the shelf brackets as shown. Make sure you choose a screw that is short enough not to go through the top of the board. If the screws do slightly break through, use adhesive putty to cover the tips.

If you can find someone to help you, this step is easier with two people.

Step

Step 6 | How to Make a DIY Radiator Cat Bed

Glue the foam to the top of the board, cutting to foam to size as needed.

Step

Step 7 | How to Make a DIY Radiator Cat Bed

Lay the fabric over the foam, staple it to the underside of the board, and cut off any excess fabric.


In the end, this piece will have cost about $12, not counting the cost of heating—but who can put a price on keeping your cat warm and happy?

A cat bed that fits over your radiator - from the new book, "DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs"

If you enjoyed this DIY radiator cat bed project, you'll love the 19 other creations in this book! DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs will be available to purchase on May 8th. Pre-order your copy on Amazon today!

DIY Projects for Cats & Dogs

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Curbly Original
IKEA Hack: The Tarva Nightstand Gets Naked

by M.E. Gray

IKEA Hack Nightstand Edition - A Tarva nightstand with cutout handles

One of the easiest ways to change up a piece of furniture is to switch out the hardware - but what happens when the hardware is abandoned completely? When my wife found this nightstand during a recent trip to IKEA, she immediately drew inspiration from a different piece of furniture in our house - our hardware-less credenza. Could we replicate the cutout drawer handle on her new nightstand? Turns out, we could! Trading a little extra work for the extra cost of new hardware, here's how this IKEA nightstand hack worked out.                     

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